Think of your relationship/marriage like your car or your computer. Cars and computers require maintenance and care to work properly. Anybody who tells you their relationship has never needed any care or attention is lying. Couples need to talk. Successful couples invest in the relationship, and in some cases they invest in couples therapy.
When someone mentions marriage therapy or counseling, there is this instant thought of failure. The truth is that therapy is an excellent way to perform routine maintenance on your relationship. It’s not just there as a band-aid when your relationship starts to crumble. Strong relationship are strong because they understand it takes work. They accept that things don’t always run smooth, but are also willing to put in the work to fix it.
Here’s a look at the top seven reasons couples actively seek therapy.
They Struggle to Communicate
A marriage requires communication. This isn’t just about “how’s your day been” or “did the kids get to school okay.” You need to talk about your feelings, situations that are troubling you, and concerns you have about your relationship. These aren’t going to be easy conversations to have and some people really struggle to talk about the hard things.
Marriage counseling can be the perfect place for this. There’s a safe space with someone who can help you delve deeper in ways that your partner can understand and hear you. You focus on sharing how you feel. There’s the ability to show instead of tell.
Counseling can help you stop just co-existing with each other and start being a partnership again.
The Communication has Turned Negative
While you may communicate, you may not communicate in the same way. As you get comfortable with someone, you focus more on the bad things they do or the negative way you feel. Unfortunately, this has a negative pull on the relationship. The other person can feel underappreciated or it can fuel more disagreements and arguments.
Couples counseling can help to pull the communication back in the right direction. A therapist will help stop you mid-negative thought. They will suggest better ways to phrase your words, focusing on the way actions make you feel. There’s also the chance for the other person to share how the negativity makes them feel.
This is a chance for both people to talk equally—and their feelings respected by the other person. Counseling becomes that safe space both people need, while they get the tools to take the counseling outside the office.
They Don’t Know Where to Go From Here
Some couples just get stuck in a rut. They think the only option is to get out of the relationship, rather than cause further hurt or pain while in the relationship. Couples therapy can help save the relationship before that happens.
Therapists have seen plenty of couples who are on the brink of breakdown or divorce—and not because of an affair or negativity. They help couples reconnect and rediscover things about each other.
Therapists can also work one-on-one within the couple, helping to boost confidence individually. This then helps to boost the relationship during couples counseling. Therapists can also help manage a trial separation to see if this is really what the couple wants deep down.
There Are Affairs or Potential Affairs
Of course, one of the main reasons marriage therapy is considered is due to an affair. One or both may have had an affair or may be considering having one. They turn to a therapist to help repair the damage and find their way back to each other.
It is possible to recover after an affair. The trust can be built again, but both people in the relationship need to commit to rebuilding that trust. Both need to be honest. Therapy tends to be that safe space to be honest without judgment and fear.
They Have Different Parental or Life Views
Some of the problems in marriages or relationships aren’t spotted early on. It can take the birth of a child or a new job to realize that both people in the couple want different things. One person can’t handle the parenting style of the other, creating a rift and negativity. Likewise a different life choice can leave the other person questioning morality or support from their partner.
Couples therapy helps to get deep into the relationship. There’s the chance for both to be honest about why they want what they want. They can also explore the other options in their life, even finding out something they didn’t know about themselves.
Marriage therapy isn’t just about working on their own relationship, but also about finding compromises. They learn how to cope with each other’s different views and opinions and talk through situations that are happening.
There Are Other Mental Disorders or Illnesses
Life is hard. There are all types of things that affect a relationship, and some of those are personal medical issues. Mental illnesses are especially problematic. Post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders can all cause a problem in a marriage. The person suffering from the mental illness can’t change who they are, but the other person doesn’t know how to handle that.
Marriage counseling can help to manage some of the negative feelings that come from illnesses, especially mental illnesses. There is space for the person suffering from the illness to explain what they think and feel, without judgment and questions that they just can’t answer. The other person gets a chance to understand more about the illness and find out how they can support.
Therapy can also help to bridge the intimacy gap because of past illnesses.
They Need Pre-Marital Counseling
Almost half of all marriages end in divorce. This isn’t a positive statistic and can lead to negativity going in. One of the most common reasons for divorce is not knowing how to talk with your partner in a way they need. Pre-marital counseling can help prevent this. It can help you understand your partner on a deeper level, and set you on the right path. A therapist will know what a marriage takes—and not just about the communication. They’ll go through all the different types of questions, problems, and situations that can arise. They can offer tips and advice to get over the hurdles.
Couples therapy is a good way to make sure you’re ready for marriage. It’s a chance to air out your grievances and make decisions early when it comes to financial and family planning, managing the in-laws, and meeting life goals.
Couples Therapy Is a Gift
While there are many negative thoughts around couples therapy, going through it doesn’t mean your marriage is breaking down. Think of it as a gift and an investment in the most important aspect of your life. Couples therapy can keep your relationship strong, so it can withstand anything life throws at it.
If you are struggling in a relationship, reach out for help today.